Sometimes asking for help is necessary when you are recovering from a substance use disorder. There may be some negative stigmas around asking for help from others that assume that you are weak or lazy because you can’t figure it out on your own. However, everyone needs help sometimes, and problems are solved better when you can work together with others.
If you feel a strong urge to use a substance or are finding your mental health or substance use symptoms difficult to manage, it may be necessary to seek help from an outside source. Another person might provide you with a different perspective on your situation or tips that worked for them for managing their own mental health or substance use symptoms. This is why it’s important to have a support network to ask for help whenever you need it.
Knowing When to Ask for Help
When you’re struggling with managing a mental health disorder or substance use disorder, it’s not a problem to try fixing the issue on your own before asking for help. There might be something simple you can do that will resolve the issue. Think about the tools a mental health professional might have given you to help manage your symptoms. Try to use these tools to the best of your ability to mitigate the situation. Trying to fix the problem yourself before asking for advice from another source allows you to strengthen your coping skills and prepare you for possibly being in a situation where you won’t be able to immediately ask for help for one reason or another.
However, if you feel like you’ve lost control of your emotions or have impulses to use a substance, it might be necessary to seek help immediately. If you attempt to self-diagnose and fix the problem, remind yourself that you don’t have all the answers, and you may not be able to fix the situation on your own. You may want to seek help if your symptoms worsen or aren’t getting better over the course of several days. It may also be necessary to seek help if you’ve tried several solutions but aren’t seeing any changes or the problem is making it impossible to carry out everyday activities.
How to Ask for Help From Friends and Family
The situation causing you to struggle in your recovery will determine the appropriate source for you to seek advice. It’s important to be able to recognize that some people aren’t good at giving advice or don’t give good advice because bad advice could potentially make the situation worse instead of better. Regardless of how sensitive the topic is, it’s important to acknowledge who you’re getting the advice from so you can see the problem through their perspective and note if the person’s perspective might be somehow hindering them from giving appropriate advice.
Once you decide who you’re going to talk to about your situation, you have to decide what you want to say. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of asking this person for help, it might be easier to write them a letter explaining your circumstances and concerns. This will help ensure that you’ve acknowledged all your feelings surrounding the situation. It also might relieve some of the pressure of having to tell a story that may be emotional or triggering.
Remember that, when you ask for help from a friend or family member, you’re giving them emotional labor to perform. While it’s okay to rely on your friends and family for emotional support, it’s important to consider other things that might be going on in the person’s life that may also demand that person’s time or attention. This is why it’s important to have a supportive network with various people you can rely on at different times.
Of course, if you feel like your family members and friends are either emotionally unavailable or ill-equipped to help you deal with your situation, that should not stop you from seeking outside help. Your mental health professional is available to help you work through any problems and is often the person best equipped to design an appropriate solution to your problems.
Support groups are also a great place to release your emotions and ask for help from people who are also struggling with a substance use disorder. These people and places exist to help people struggling with negative emotions or substance use symptoms, so you should never feel guilty about asking them for help in your time of need.
While asking for help for an emotional problem or difficulty managing substance use symptoms may be daunting, it can sometimes be necessary to fix the problem. Mental health professionals and support groups exist to help you through difficult times, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Many mental health professionals have emergency lines and “on-call” hours for support.
At Shoreline Recovery Center, we are dedicated to preparing our patients to have a solid support system that they can rely on while finishing inpatient treatment. We believe in providing community and social activities that will help you connect with your peers and grow your support network. Our professionals are here to help you manage your substance use symptoms and help you through any co-occurring issues that you might be currently struggling with. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, please call us at (866) 278-8495 to get more information and learn more about our programs.